Debt collection agency faces lawsuit in federal court

Jon Campisi Aug. 11, 2011, 4:48pm

A Philadelphia woman is suing a debt collection firm in federal court, alleging that the company continuously harassed her for supposed outstanding consumer debt.

Attorney Amy L. Bennecoff, of the Ambler, Pa. law firm of Kimmel & Silverman, filed the complaint Aug. 10 at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on behalf of Lori Harrison.

The defendant named in the lawsuit is New York-based Plaza Associates.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant began debt collection activities in March of this year and continuing through June. Employees working with the defendant allegedly started making repeated harassing phone calls to Harrison on a routine basis, sometimes calling her as late as 9 p.m., the suit claims.

Oftentimes, the company called Harrison’s cell phone, almost always using an “artificial voice” or pre-recorded messaging system.

“Defendant’s actions in attempting to collect the alleged debt were made with the intent to harass, abuse, annoy and deceive Plaintiff into making payment,” the lawsuit claims. “Defendant intentionally engaged in this course of conduct stated above, to intimidate, mislead, cajole and confuse Plaintiff.”

The complaint also states that the defendant never sent Harrison written communication of her rights and privileges under the laws, specifically the right to dispute and/or seek validation for the alleged debt.

The lawsuit accuses the defendant of violating the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act as well as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991.

Harrison seeks unspecified compensatory damages as well as statutory damages in the amount of $1,000 related to the violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and $500 for each violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Harrison also seeks repayment for attorney’s fees and other court costs.

A jury trial has been demanded.

The federal case number is 2:11-cv-05100-GP.

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